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The news that Royal Mail has called off its planned strikes is to be welcomed. But the threat of such action should serve as a trigger for ecommerce businesses to refresh their delivery contingency planning. Paul Galpin, MD, P2P mailing, explains further.

The challenges of e-commerce fulfillment are brought sharply into focus by such strike action and by any difficulties with regular carriers. The deregulated UK postal scene – and wider international delivery market - presents businesses with a vast range of options and services when it comes to transporting purchases from A to B. The trouble is, such competition and complexity needs to be managed. Attempting to navigate this delivery conundrum alone is fraught with danger because few businesses will have the expertise or capacity in-house to devote to fulfillment. Too often, this means that any disruption to legacy solutions can result in lost efficiency, higher costs and lower quality.

The consumer simply won’t care for excuses. The whole point of e-commerce is its simplicity and convenience. If behind the scenes complications affect the customer experience, it will be the retail brand that suffers. Relying heavily on one supplier may seem sensible in terms of easy administration and the development of supplier relationships but having a strategy in place for any periods of disruption is essential.

Fulfilment should never be a once-and-done exercise. That’s why e-commerce businesses of every size are forming partnerships with third-party delivery experts. Such experts are not aligned to one particular carrier or another - rather, they have strong relationships with a range of delivery providers and the market expertise to identify the best solution for each job.

Despite this latest strike being called off, e-commerce retailers should use the warning to reassess delivery options and to ensure that contingency plans are in place for any future disruption. There is no need to go it alone. The expert partners are out there to ensure that delivery processes are sleek, cost-efficient and aligned to customer expectations. Consumers will have no sympathy for retailers that have failed to plan accordingly. Getting it wrong just once will result in buyers switching allegiance in a flash. On the other hand, consistent delivery excellence is a sure-fire way to win consumer trust and increased share of wallet.